We. The Revolution
Switch version tested
Review code provided
We. The Revolution has you taking the role of a judge during the French Revolution. During this time of unrest, you are primarily tasked with presiding over trials and sentencing the defendants accordingly. Everything you do will have an effect as your judgement will be viewed and scrutinised by your peers, revolutionaries, common folk and even your family as you do your best to maintain the delicate balance of justice.
The courtroom will be where you spend most of your time, each trial will begin with a document outlining the accusations of the accused which you need to read through and take note of key elements. Next you can set up a line of questioning for the defendant, you will be given a set of events as laid out in the previous documents which you must link to the corresponding line of questioning. Getting as many of these correct will give you a more varied questioning phase but get too many wrong and certain lines will be locked out meaning you will be limited in your questioning which will affect people’s opinion of you as a competent judge as well as the potential for a mistrial.
Of course, at the end of each trial comes the big question, the sentence! Acquittal, Prison or Death. Depending on your questioning success the Jury’s opinion will be on display as well as the voice of the people, you will also need to fill in a report on the trial which consists of answering a few basic questions to see how well you were paying attention, “was the defendants’ actions counter-revolutionary in nature?” and so forth. With this title being very politically heavy your sentencing is not always as straight forward as it appears, your relationship’s and standing with certain factions and politicians can have drastic consequences, even if you have someone who is innocent, acquitting them could see you making enemies in high places that can have heavy affects on you down the line.
This juggling of the moral compass takes a bit of time to get used to, at first, I was playing through and making the choices I felt best based on the evidence at hand, which saw be being deposed before the end of the first act due to making enemies of the wrong people. This was a bit confusing and frustrating, but I returned to an earlier save and made some different choices even though they didn’t sit well with me and saw my playthrough continue into being fairly successful despite some shady choices with unsavoury characters.
Court cases are just one of the many elements and mechanics that play into We. The Revolution, along the way you will have to balance home life by choosing activities with certain family members that will affect their opinion and relationship with you, hold speeches to crowds in an attempt to raise their faith in you by choosing how to address them during your speech, do you come across as aggressive when talking about crime or more humble?
Gaining favour, building relationships, managing districts all fold into the game at a steady pace with their own “mini-game” mechanic in between the bread and butter of court cases. Although each mechanic is well constructed this can be overwhelming as it feels like so much is being thrown at you that it offsets the flow of the game, I like the idea of currying favour with certain parties but found the constant slew of activities between key cases to suck the core enjoyment from the experience though on reflection I wonder if this was by design to help make the player really feel like a political puppet on a string.
Presentation wise the art style is sublime, strikingly detailed artwork forms the comic book strip style cut scenes, all wonderfully voiced and succeed in driving home the emotions, atmosphere and events of the game. From jeering crowds, heated arguments to thought-provoking insights, the team at Polyslash really do a great job of drawing you into this unsettling period in history. Despite the cut scenes being so masterfully done, they are the only areas to feature voiceover, the lengthy court cases and side activities are all silent and delivered in text meaning there is a lot of reading involved, this is not a problem on the big screen but while playing handheld on the Switch I did find trolling through a five-page document at the beginning of a case a struggle to read on the small screen. It would have been nice to have a voice over for these areas due to how powerful the performances are elsewhere.
We. The Revolution is a unique experience and one that has been given a lot of care and attention that history fans will certainly appreciate but will likely not be the right cup of tea for casual gamers. Despite a shaky start I really enjoyed the depth of the court cases and during longer sessions found myself getting truly engrossed in trying to find the balance between pleasing the different factions despite having to make choices that didn’t sit well with me. Once you get into the flow there is a great experience to be had here if you view this game as more of a SIM experience, but the constant shuffling of side activities does start to get in the way as the game rolls on.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam
Release Date: 25/06/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Narrative, SIM
Download link: eShop